YouTube SEO is a mystery for most and the science behind how to optimize your YouTube SEO is purely anecdotal. There is approximately 500,000+ hours of video uploaded to YouTube every day so it would be impossible for their SEO algorithm to not make some mistakes or be exploited. This article will outline one of our favorite YouTube SEO hacks.
Over my time running Metric Hunter, i’ve come to notice a few ways to optimize your YouTube videos and increase the first hour views. YouTube takes a lot of stock in how many views your videos get in the first handful of hours, so if you upload a dud of a video that doesn’t see much traction in its infancy, that usually paints an accurate picture of the trajectory for that video. At this point, we can come to the conclusion that your first hours are the most important in the life span of your video.
So this brings up the next question: How can I increase views on my video shortly after being uploaded? That is a question with many different answers, but something we have found to be successful is scheduling our YouTube videos, as opposed to letting them go live as soon as YouTube is finished uploading them. This might seem simple, but hold tight while we justify this opinion with some metrics.
What is video scheduling on YouTube?
YouTube offers you a few options: Upload your video and let it go live or upload it and schedule it to be viewed at a later date of your choice. Common sense would say it would be best to have your video go live immediately and soak up as many views as possible, however we believe that letting it marinate behind the scenes might actually boost your YouTube SEO. We did some A and B testing on a handful of videos, with identical subject content and tags. The results were staggering to say the least.
Testing a scheduled video vs. live upload
As stated earlier, we uploaded two videos with nearly identical content, timing, tags and anything else that matters to SEO. Our results showed that even though an initial burst from current fans may occur, the long term growth of a video was severely impacted.
As you can see from our limited testing, the results were quite successful. In this test, it demonstrated there was a strong correlation between why scheduling a YouTube video better than just letting it go live after uploading. However, more testing needs to be done to ensure this correlation is due to the scheduling itself and not some random factor. We currently have some other YouTube videos under the same A&B scenario and this article will be updated with those results in the future.
Why does scheduling a YouTube video help SEO?
Although there is no concrete consensus on if scheduling a YouTube video has any impact on it’s SEO and long term views, our results would indicate that it does. Since Youtube is processing and organizing hundreds of thousands of videos per day, giving your video some time to sit on the backend of YouTube may give their algorithm a chance to spend more time on the video and find the proper audience.
As you can see in the above screenshot from our YouTube Studio, YouTube recommended the video for 77.7% of the viewers. Take a look at the results for the video we didn’t schedule below.
When we didn’t schedule our YouTube video upload, YouTube only recommended the video 18.7% of the time which was dramatically lower than the scheduled video.
We can conclude from our split testing that scheduling your YouTube to go live, 24 hours after uploading does have positive impact on your SEO. Both videos were nearly identical in their content, upload time and metadata so we can conclude there is likely some correlation to how the video is release and long term views. This is one of our favorite YouTube SEO hacks and we are happy to share it with you.